How to sow your peren­ni­als

Gardeners' World - - Perennials From Seed -

When you open a packet of seed or a bag in which you’ve col­lected seed from your own gar­den, it’s tempt­ing to sow them all. But this can re­sult in you los­ing the lot, as seedlings grow­ing too close are prone to damp­ing off, a fun­gal dis­ease that can fell your en­tire batch. Al­ways sow spar­ingly to give each seedling ad­e­quate light and fresh air around its stem and leaves. A healthy at­mos­phere is vi­tal in rais­ing healthy seedlings. They need a bright spot but mustn’t be exposed to di­rect sun­light through glass as this can scorch them. Al­ways use pro­pri­etary seed com­post. It ster­ile and free from pathogens and weed seeds. Firm the com­post sur­face gen­tly be­fore sow­ing but aim for the com­post end­ing up no lower than a cen­time­tre be­low the edge of your tray. Seedlings need light and air which they won’t get if you half fill trays or pots. The best re­cep­ta­cles for seed-sow­ing are deep half seed trays (around 20cm x 15cm). is Large seed trays tempt you to sow more while pots are too deep in re­la­tion to sur­face area. Sow on the sur­face of the com­post and sprin­kle a thin layer of fine grit over the sur­face. Press down firmly then stand the tray in shal­low wa­ter un­til the grit changes colour. Re­move the tray and al­low to drain. This draws down the seed into in­ti­mate con­tact with the com­post. Stand trays in a warm, bright place – in­doors near a ra­di­a­tor is ideal. Only wa­ter again when the sur­face is dry. When seedlings are show­ing true leaves, af­ter the emer­gence of seed or cotyle­don leaves, gen­tly ease them out with a pen­cil, one at a time and, hold­ing them by the seed leaves – never the stem – space them out in big­ger seed trays or give each one an in­di­vid­ual cell in a mod­ule tray. When seedlings have made a good root sys­tem and are grow­ing strongly they can be pot­ted on. Even­tu­ally they’ll be big and strong enough to take their place out­side.

Add seed com­post to a deep half seed tray Cover with a light layer of grit Sow seed spar­ingly on the com­post sur­face Stand in wa­ter till the grit is soaked then drain

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